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Anatomy of a Revolution
The French Revolution and the Libyan Revolution

Taylor Foley, Nuran Ghoneim, Sabrina Khan and Takiya Khan
Period 7

Phase 1: Economic and Political

Both the French Revolution and the Libyan Revolution faced political and economic
problems but in different ways. Before Muammar Gaddafi-Libyan ruler for 42 years- was King
Idris. Gaddafi overthrew the King and seized power over Libya. During the French Revolution,

the old regime was ruled by the monarchs, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette with support

Comment [1]: no need for capitalization

from the 1st and 2nd estates. Both countries faced economic and political trouble but differently.
Both countries and their rulers faced political trouble. In Libya, during Gaddafi's rule,
Libya became a very difficult place to live in. While in power, Gaddafi showed the world that

Comment [2]: the analysis is good, but please
try to branch out in your phrasing. Both is
probably used at least 100000000 times just in
this first phase.

Libya had become a democracy but in reality Gaddafi was controlling everything going on in
Libya.1 For example, some things Gaddafi controlled were the police, money, oil etc. He even

Comment [3]: etc. is lazy! List everything if
you know everything :)

made a new government system while being ruler. Libya was especially a terrible place to live in
because the lack of jobs were calculated to 30% and more. Later on, in 2011, people started
protesting for freedom which gave a strong political impact on the country. This proves that
Gaddafi knew what was happening in Libya. However, before the French Revolution, King
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette lived in Versailles; a palace far from France. They were not
aware of the problems happening in France: such as the bread riots, the protests and the
bourgeoisie campaigning Enlightenment ideas. This shows that politically, in the beginning, both
countries started off differently but in the end, they both changed through protests and
Enlightenment ideas.
Both countries faced economic trouble. In Libya, there was oil and money trouble.2
Money was a big problem in Libya, as 30% and more of the population did not have jobs.
However, being a ruler, Gaddafi had billions of dollars in his bank, which he would not fund for
Libyans. This money was thought to come because Libya has a large supply of oil. This also
contributed as a reason for the revolution. During the French Revolution, the King and Queen
were thought to be living a rich lifestyle while the rest of the country was living in poverty. It is
because of these facts that the people of France protested and that the King and Queen were


Tarik Kafala, “Gaddafi’s Quixotic and Brutal Rule,” BBC, October 20th, 2011
Tom Bawden and John Hooper, “Gaddafi’s Hidden Billions,” The Guardian, February 22nd, 2011

Comment [4]: very specific, I love it!

murdered from the guillotine. Gaddafi also received the same fate-but being killed in a different
way. Both rulers faced economic problems that had a hand in the revolution.

Phase 2: Absolutist Leader’s power is limited

Comment [5]: fate?

No matter how powerful the leaders are in Libya and in France they all have their limits. Gaddafi
was a powerful leader in Libya and despite that and all his resources he still fell from his
position. Louis XVI was also a very powerful and wealthy man and he and his wife Marie fell
from their positions as well. From Gaddafi’s perspective, he believed that he was doing the right

thing. In the French Revolution Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were not aware of what was
Gaddafi was a powerful leader in Libya and despite that and all his resources he still fell
from his position. The Gaddafi family could have several billion dollars hiding in Dubai banks. 3
He was wealthy and did not share his wealth with the Libyan people. He left them to starve and
struggle to make a living. Gaddafi wanted his supporters to attack the people who were against
his ideas.4 This is similar to Napoleon because he had his followers attack the people who were
against the revolution. In the French Revolution, Louis XVI was also a very powerful and a
wealthy man, he and his wife Marie Antoinette fell from their positions as well. Louis XVI and
his wife Marie Antoinette were living the luxury life and their subjects were suffering in poverty.
Both in Libya and in France, people rebelled. In Libya, the citizens protested because they hated
how wealthy Gaddafi was yet he did not give them anything and they wanted to be free of him.
In France, the third estate rebelled because they wanted their freedom, independence and natural
rights. They also did not like how their leaders were living a luxury life while they had to suffer
to make a living.
From Gaddafi’s perspective, he believed that he was doing the right thing. However, that
was not true. Because of that, protests broke out. People were protesting for the support of
human rights.5 But Gaddafi had different interpretations of the protests. He believed that the
protests had destroyed the country’s image. He claimed that the protests were “serving the devil”


Gaddafis’ hidden billions: Dubai banks plush London pads and Italian water by Tom Bawden and John
Hooper, Written February 22, 2011


Libya protests: Defiant Gaddafi refuses to quit by ET Written February 22, 2011
Protests Spread to Libya by the CNN Wire Staff, Written February 16, 2011

and wanted his supporters to go attack the “cockroaches” who were going against him.



illustrates that Gaddafi was aware of what happening in Libya. This differs from Louis XVI and
Marie Antoinette. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were not aware of what was happening in
France. They heard about the protests but thought they were only rumors.

Phase 3: Radical Uprising


Libya protests: Defiant Gaddafi refuses to quit by ET Written February 22, 2011

Comment [6]: Isn't that interesting?
Remember in Egypt protestors were considered
"thugs." Ann Coulter called the Libyans

Revolutions usually occur because the citizens of a country are unhappy with their
government. This is true when it comes to both the French and the Libyan revolution. In both of
these revolutions, the citizens rebelled because they did not have freedom, and their rulers were
controlling them. In the French revolution, King Louis XVI spent most of the country’s money
on himself and wealthy people. The poor were upset because the bread prices were increasing.
This led to a protest. This is similar to how the citizens of Libya were upset because many people
were losing their jobs. Gaddafi was controlling the oil production, which led the workers in
Libya to protest.7 30% of people were unemployed, and most employed people had part time
jobs. Similar to the French Revolution, the Libyan Revolution only involved a civil war, not a


Libya Civil War Fast Facts, By CNN Library, Written Wednesday April 16, 2014

Comment [7]: Wrong- what about the French
Revolutionary Wars with Austria, Prussia, and
the rest of monarchical Europe? These
eventually became the Napoleonic Wars.

foreign one. In the French Revolution, no countries became involved in the war. In the Libyan
Revolution, the U.N. sent NATO to Libya to launch operations to protect civilians.8

Similar to how the French had the Reign of Terror, the Libyan Revolution also had a
violent stage of the uprising. About 40,000 of the French died during the uprising. On August 30,
2011, rebel commander Hisham Abu Hajer stated that over 50,000 the people of Libya died in
the uprising. This is more than the number of people who died in the Reign of Terror.9 This
number was calculated by adding up all of the death tolls that were reported. In September 2011,
Libyan rebels gained enough power for them to be able to transition from Gaddafi’s rule to a

Phase 4: Return to tyranny


NATO and Libya. Written March 28, 2012.
International Committee Moves To Avert Crisis In Libya, By CNN Wire Staff, Written August 31, 2011

Comment [8]: Please proofread! Be Precise

While the French Revolution left France with an absolutist government, the Libyan
Revolution left Libya with a limited government. The Libyan Revolution ended after Muammar
Gaddafi was beaten to death by his own people. Gaddafi prevented the Libyan people from
having their own freedom, since Gaddafi controlled the oil production in Libya, around 30% of
the Libyan people were left unemployed. After Gaddafi was killed and the revolution ended,
people celebrated. Libya is now governed by the Council of Deputies. When the election for

Comment [9]: Good topic sentence!

Council of Deputies began, many Libyans did not vote, approximately 630,000 voted out of
Libya's 3,2 million.10The new elections also led to violence, which got at least 5 people killed
between the government and militia forces in Benghazi.
A not-so similar thing happened during the French Revolution. After Napoleon was
exiled and the revolution ended, France was the first country in Europe that had equality and
liberty. France eventually took in the ideas the revolutionaries had, and gave the French people

Excellent work! Your argument and analysis were very strong. You had a couple of historical
inaccuracies and you had a few minor grammatical errors so both your Be Precise grades will be
meeting standards. Overall you did an excellent job capturing the themes and concepts of the
unit. Well done! Hang on to this for the regents- this is a great study guide.


Libyan elections: Low turnout marks bid to end political crisis by BBC Written June 25 2014

Comment [10]: very vague/unclear ending.
Napoleon was replaced with Louis XVI's
brother, Louis XVIII. France will not have
another republic until the 1870s (after being led
by Napoleon's nephew- weird, huh?). You
could say the French Revolution inspired liberal
ideas around the globe in the 19th century, and
perhaps that was a success.